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Eagle, African Crowned

African Crowned Eagle at the LA Zoo (Photo Credit: Paul Bronstein)

Scientific Name: Stephanoaetus coronatus

This eagle, with its powerful talons and swift speed, is able to catch monkeys that are in the process of swinging from tree to tree.

A Loud Killer

The African crowned eagle is one of the deadliest hunters in the African sky, and it likes to make sure all of the nearby creatures clearly understand their power. These birds are highly vocalized (particularly the males) and have a very conspicuous display flight. Males use these display flights as a means of showing their dominance over their own territory, flying as high as 3,000 feet and then swooping down (typically doing this multiple times in a row), emitting a high-pitched whistle as they do so. The females will do a similar display, and when paired with a male, the couple with perform a very powerful dance that fills the savannah skies with sounds of their aerial superiority and finesse.

The African crowned eagle is listed as of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

This bird makes its home in the forest woodlands and savannahs of southern and southeastern Africa.

The diet of the African crowned eagle mainly consists of mammals, particularly hyraxes and antelope. However, when hunting in pairs, these birds are also known to hunt large reptiles, birds, and mammals (including monkeys).

This bird is typically a dark brown or black with a white undercoat. The wings of this bird are short and rounded for added maneuverability for hunting. When in flight, the wing and tail feathers of this bird have a tannish tip with black bars, giving it a look that distinguishes it from other eagles. This bird is one of the largest birds of prey, between 30 to 40 inches in length, 5 to 6 feet from wingtip to wingtip, and weighs between six to 10 pounds. The females of this species, and most other birds of prey, are typically larger than the males. The large size of this bird, coupled with its adept flying ability, allows it to hunt some of the largest prey for any bird of prey.

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